Alexis Sanchez got his Arsenal career off to a lightning start. After completing his £35 million switch from Barcelona in the summer transfer window, the Chilean bagged himself no less than 17 goals in 31 games, as well as nine assists.
He had three player of the month awards to his name by December. Things were going very well indeed.
However in the second half of the season he’s failed to continue that good form. Injuries have played their part in stopping his progress but a new graphic produced by Sky Sports may have shed some light on his troubles.
It shows his form before and after Mesut Ozil’s own return from injury. Beforehand he was in rude health in front of goal. However in the German’s seven league games since his return from a serious knee complaint, Sanchez hasn’t scored a single goal and has managed just one assist.
By comparison, Ozil has scored two goals in the league since his return and has generally looked sharp.
There could be other reasons for Sanchez’s slump of course. Some Arsenal fans point to his workload this term; he’s played 37 games for the Gunners having also featured for his country at the World Cup over the summer.
Arsene Wenger has previously admitted he was close to the ‘red zone’ of injury earlier this season and believes he can ‘defy medical orders’, both of which should set alarm bells ringing amongst the Arsenal faithful.
He’s also been moved about in the Arsenal front line a fair amount this season and having spent some time up front has now been shifted left since Olivier Giroud returned his injury.
The warning signs about Sanchez have been there for some time now. His all-action style and endless running were bound to take their toll sooner rather than later, and Arsenal fans shouldn’t worry about his slump.
The suggestion that Ozil is somehow responsible for his lack of form is disingenuous, Ozil teed up a beauty of a chance for Sanchez against Crystal Palace that he would have tucked away early on in the season.
Instead, Wenger needs to look a little closer to home to figure out why his star man is struggling.